The global travel and tourism industry is an incredible force to be reckoned with - regardless of what the financial tsunami decides to throw at it, Fiona Jeffery, chairman of World Travel Market said. Speaking at the opening ceremony on Monday, she told Government Ministers, Ambassadors, trade association and tourism chiefs that the global industry is robust, diversified, innovative, entrepreneurial, and, in most cases, financially sound.
“We simply cannot ignore the crumbling collapses that have scarred international financial markets in recent weeks”, she added. ” We have to face the fact that in some parts of the world in 2009 - certainly here in Western Europe - less package holidays will be sold and those that are, will undoubtedly increase in price.
“These are unprecedented happenings in our lifetime, but I want you to know that we recognise just how tough it is for much of the industry right now and hope that during the next four days World Travel Market can contribute positively to helping business plan and reach out to new markets and profit revenues.
“It’s vital that these economic headaches do not mean the industry loses sight of other major industry challenges such as sustainable development, global warming and poverty reduction. They cannot, nor should not, take a back seat - regardless of the current situation.
“By anyone’s standards this has not been a normal run-of-the-mill year for the industry or, for that matter, the world”, continued Jeffery.
“But to address these problems, I believe we should look to the remedy that most governments have signed up to in order to restore order in the financial sector.
“Just as they have agreed a global approach to address the meltdown, this is a time - perhaps more than ever before - for the international travel industry to seek a global approach, and demonstrate co-operative leadership.”